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The Back-up Plan (2010)
Do not waste your time.
There is nothing redeeming about this movie. There is zero chemistry between the leads. (How could they make Alex O'Loughin look more dweebish than sexy?) The story is completely unrealistic. And I don't know how Lopez can vomit so much and yet keep her fake caterpillar eyelashes (and surrounding makeup)intact. Not only did I not laugh once, I didn't even break a smile. I can't believe any serious actor would sign up to do this movie. I felt sorry for the stunt dog that they stuck into the "cart like" thing, and feel sorry in general to poor cast that had to watch the lames scenes shot over and over. They probably wanted to quit. Poorly written. Mediocre acting. No heat. No laughter. No fun. Just horrible.
Not a fan of Prison movies, But...
This film spins a suspenseful tale and has impressive acting. While there are a few story elements that stretch credibility, the terror of prison, such as being surrounded by psychopaths and the drudgery of confinement, is realistically portrayed. Stephen Dorff as Wade, was great in this. (Sad, that he is now seen on the small screen, hawking electric cigarettes.)
Val Kilmer plays a lifer (for retaliatory killings related to his wife's slaughter) who finds in Wade someone who shares his reverence for protecting and sustaining one's family. In turn, he wants to protect Wade. Val is great in this role, as he is in so many roles. (If only someone would offer him a part as a guy who loses 100 pounds for some dramatic reason.) The consummate professional that he is -- He'd lose the weight, along with his character.
Under the Cherry Moon (1986)
Yikes. Not even "so bad it's funny." It's just plain BAD.
I like many albums Prince made, and even a movie he starred in (Purple Rain). This review is not based upon a strong dislike of Prince. It's based upon my strong dislike of this movie.
My guess is that only massive fans of Prince (who are also most likely quite young) would deem this to be a good movie. I had it on while I did housework, so my time wasn't "lost." However, I would have enjoyed just about any other movie *more* than this one.
Poor direction, mediocre acting and a horrible script bury this movie. There were some nice costumes and the cinematography was okay, but nothing (including the song "Kiss," which I like) can save this heaping mess.
Bitter Feast (2010)
I dislike "blood and guts" movies, and only saw this one because I was channel surfing, thought it was about a guy and his cooking show, and was drawn in by the time I realized its genre.
For a low budget movie, I'm surprised at how good the lead actors were, and that even though both characters were impossible to like, they had strong chemistry together and there was palpable suspense over what would happen next.
Surprisingly, the dialog was well-written, and there was some very dark comedy in there. The tasks that the captor demanded were not complicated nor incredible, but rather simply creative ways to make the critic "eat his words." Some of the negative reviews in here lament that there was not enough blood and/or guts/gore, but there was enough intensity and thrills created, without having to show every bloody detail.
I found this to be a suspenseful, well-acted independent film.
The Conversation (1974)
Many people are unfamiliar with this film.
And there is a reason.
Not everyone enjoys this type of movie. It is a long, slow, single-character study, (with said character acting grossly out-of-character at key times), that takes three times longer to tell than is necessary (but hey, look at the cinematography), and it leaves many answers to important questions up to "viewer interpretation."
There are also people who like "evidence" presented in a film to not magically alter itself. Imagine that a film repeatedly (and I mean, repeatedly) shows a rock engraved with the word "Desert" - but at the end of the movie, shows that very same untouched rock reading "Dessert." One could argue that, yes, that is a "twist" and that said twist makes you rethink things. But it also makes you feel cheated. Well, at least this film has Gene Hackman.
The American (2010)
A long movie with not much to tell.
A movie that mainly shows George Clooney working with guns, brooding or driving. Or brooding while driving. (When you see him get into his car, you can fast-forward for a spell and miss nothing).
There is little that this movie ever explains. We don't know why Swedish assassins were sent, or who Jack/Edward's boss is, or who the female assassin wants to kill, or why newspaper clippings about dead prostitutes appear, or even where all the townspeople are. (It seems like every business in town would go broke with so few customers).
We know little of George's character. Does he work for an agency, or just one person? He goes by both Jack and Edward, but who is he and how did he end up there? What we do know is that Jack/Edward is a loner, an uber-competent gunsmith (who is also skilled in killing people), a man of few words, and the type who leaves relationships badly.
We know that he meets a local prostitute (who is far too attractive for the role. She's off the chart hotter than the squid Elliott Spitzer paid $4700 to visit.) Their love story starts with "Edward" reminding her that she's there for his pleasure, not hers. (She probably realized this around the time that he flipped her over onto her belly, pressed her head down, and with her pinned beneath him started grunting while she's pleading "SLOW!" and then again is crying out "SLOW!!") The poor woman. (At least he showed he cared by leaving a commensurate tip.)
In all, it's just a bad film, coming at you at a snail's pace.
If Only (2004)
Something is fishy with these ratings.
I recently saw this movie on cable, and I don't know what was worse - The story, the acting, Jennifer Love Hewitt's shameless self promotion, the dialog, (both in the script and as executed with varying accents), or the ultimate message of the movie (strong attraction = true love = proving your love with the ultimate sacrifice).
I can just see JLH, as producer, saying, "Let's show how I inspire my students and how much they love me... How sexy my boyfriend thinks I look in my lingerie... How funny I am when I'm nervous and bumbling on and on about why I'm there... And then let's get me singing - with an orchestra, and a chorus!... And then show me singing again! Oh... and don't forget to call in favors and have everyone we know come to IMDb to promote it!"
There is no way that females over 13, or males (of any age) would give this movie an average of 7. For a film about "do-overs" and redemption, (that is also actually funny), you'd be happier seeing Groundhog Day for the umpteenth time, instead of this vanity movie-of-the-week.
The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
They're Men... They're Men in Hats
While the agents (angels?) are powerful enough to erase minds and alter anyone's circumstances, they nonetheless *must* keep their magic hats on. They also constantly consult what appears to be mildly-advanced college notebook.
I can't imagine why Matt Damon agreed to this project. Was anyone involved in this production familiar with the adage, "Show, don't tell." There is on-going and seemingly never-ending exposition, which only succeeds in exposing the silliness of the plot. Further, there are the rules that Damon's character is not to break, but when he does so anyway, his punishments are about as harsh as those Hogan received from Colonel Klink.
Meanwhile, the love story is weak (just as the actors' chemistry). Unconvincing, they declare they've found "true love," when they've only spent a handful of brief moments together. Hey, at least their "meet cute" was especially accidental.
Overall, it's an overly long and fairly lame film. You just might want to skip this one.
Eat Pray Love (2010)
A Movie with a Message.
Waaaaaah! Liz (played by Julia Roberts) is feeling unhappy and unfulfilled. She wants to travel. Her hubby Stephen wants to go back to school. Waaaah! Liz can't sleep and walks through her beautiful house and though not religious, she asks God what to do. Back in bed, her husband states that he wants to stay in New York. Waaaaaaah! Liz announces that she doesn't want to be married.
"Ahhhh." Liz sees a handsome young actor performing in a play that Liz wrote and they hook up at the after party. David's good for romantic walks in the park and folding her delicates at the laundromat. She also learns about his mysterious guru.
Whaaaaah! Liz's ex Stephen makes her feel bad because he says he doesn't want to dissolve their marriage. He's committed to sticking with something, and that commitment is to *her*. She doesn't want to work on things. Waaaah! How dare he look so sad, crying in the elevator? Waaaah!
New beau David has just told her that he didn't like her friend comparing him to a dog. Liz responded by saying, "Woof!" which he did not appreciate. Waaaaah!! She dislikes his retort, which is that she should give him a chance to miss her. Liz is out of there, and not even his offer of unlimited Indian food can make her stay. Waaaaah! Liz has misplaced herself and decides that what she needs is to take a year to go find herself. She picks three countries wherein she can best be found.
In Italy, where millions of Italians eat pasta everyday and still maintain a healthy weight, Liz decides that true living is eating more than what she needs - and that she just won't worry about it. Enlightening.
Next stop - India. Waaaaaah! The guru is not there. But Liz's new Texan friend steps in, and explains that what she needs to do is to forgive herself for her divorce... to think of Stephen, send him Love and Light, and then let him go. (We can assume that she wouldn't like advice related to shining some Love and Light onto Stephen and their relationship - and trying to make it work, first, before unilaterally declaring it dead).
Last stop Bali, to see her old, toothless acquaintance Ketut. Waaaaah! He does not remember her. Ah wait. Now he remembers her, He says she looks happier.
Waaaaaaah! This Brazilian, Felipe ran her off the road and she's cut her leg. A healer named Tutti with a cute daughter helps her. She's healed enough to go dancing... Waaaaah! Her dancing partner, having left the dance floor for the water has suddenly lost every article of his clothing. She turns to go back to the dance and there is Felipe, holding her sandals. She will show him Ketut, he will show her his son (visiting from Australia), he will play her a mix tape and then announce that "it is time." Liz feels altruistic after convincing her friends to send money so that Tutti and her daughter can have a home, complete with pretty blue tiles.
Waaaaaah! Felipe wants to make things work, even though he knows that sometimes they will be geographically separated. She argues that she doesn't need to love him, to prove she loves herself. She's upset that Felipe has messed with her balance. However, upon consulting with Ketut, she learns that that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Yeah! Liz runs and finds Felipe, announcing "Attraversiamo" ("Let's cross over") and they promptly head off on his boat to his favorite island.
*Moral of the story* If you find yourself unhappy, just leave your marriage and have a fling with James Franco, then take a year off, travel around the world, gorge yourself on food, forgive and forget (forgive yourself for the bad things you've done and just forget those annoying "amends" you could make), and allow a besotted Javier Bardem to whisk you to his favorite island.
Dancer in the Dark (2000)
Clearly Anti-Death Penalty
We get it. A lot of Europeans don't like the death penalty and also believe that America has faults. But really...
This movies says that if you come to America you will live in a trailer, be exploited at work, your son will become truant and only the town idiot will take a fancy to you. Well okay. That *could* happen.
It's what comes next: The American police have members who will enter your home, (while telling their wives that you seduced them), steal you blind, tell their wives that YOU have actually stolen from *them* and also proclaim that you are currently robbing them at gun point.
After you are arrested, you will be given an attorney who HAS YOU TAKE THE STAND (?!) and who provides no defense witnesses, nor does any investigation into the matter, all while any friends that you thought you had, do nothing during your trial to support your cause.
You will be found guilty of premeditated murder and SHORTLY THEREAFTER be put to death.
(I just had to look up the statistics related to women and capital punishment, and according to deathpenaltyinfo.org only one woman in the U.S. was executed in the 60's (Elizabeth Duncan, in 1962). Then not again until 1984 (Velma Barfield) and then Karla Tucker in in 1998. So in that time period - just 3 women in 36 years. Also NO women have ever been executed in the state Washington, the state where this film takes place.)
The only thing as unbelievable as the story, was the character of Selma. She is a woman who works hard to raise money for her son, and yet doesn't let him know what she is saving for, and why she spends so little time with him. Worse, she is willing to have him grow up as an orphan. The things she does throughout the movie are unbelievably stupid. I would list the idiotic things she does, but doing so would use the allotment of words we're allowed here.
I'm not a fan of Bjork, but some of the dance numbers were interesting. I actually liked (and was touched) by the first part of the movie. But as it became more and more unbelievable, I lost my connection to it.
Note: For grammar purists - I attempted to use brackets inside parentheses, but IMDb doesn't allow brackets! (That is why three paragraphs above, you will see parentheses within parentheses.)